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Obituaries

Hylda Sims - 1932 - 2020

Sad news has come to town, sad news is carried… An old friend from the early days of skiffle and the folk music revival has died. Hylda Sims, born in 1932, died in the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital on Monday 13 January after fighting a losing battle with cancer.

Sandra Goddard - 23 July 1940 – 10 November 2019

Born Marion Alexandra Wilson in St Albans in 1940, Sandra attended Teachers Training College in Brighton then studied English Literature at University of Hull in 1963. Her interest in folk music began in the late 1950s when she was introduced to the folk scene by Mary McGannon, a fellow teacher who was running a folk club in Luton.

Angie Bladen - 1950-2019

The news of the passing of Angie Bladen on 8 November 2019 was met with a real sense of loss throughout the folk scene in the UK. Through her coordinating roles in various clubs and festivals over many years she touched the lives of countless people, and she will be remembered as a skilled and committed organiser, as well as a good friend and a relentless encourager of people.

Joe Rae - 1937-2019

Joe Rae, who died just six days short of his 82nd birthday on 13th December, possessed an astonishingly wide range of Scotland’s traditional knowledge. He was a quiet, modest man who didn’t often perform in public and so is relatively unknown even within the folk music community. His songs and stories had power and relevance because they came from an unrivalled depth and width of experience and knowledge of Scotland’s history, crafts, traditions, language and culture. His sister always claimed he must have had, “Made in Scotland”, stamped on him somewhere. It is not possible to evaluate the loss of Joe as a tradition bearer without understanding this background.

Arty McGlynn - 1944-2019

Irish guitarist, Arty McGlynn died on 18 December 2019 in hospital in Enniskillen after a long illness. Known the world over as one of the most creative and innovative players of Irish music on the guitar, he is widely credited for bringing the instrument into traditional Irish music’s mainstream.

Howard Millen

I recently had an email request regarding one of the Millen Family’s songs, for which I had no answer. It was only upon trying to find his contact details that I learned of the death of Howard Millen on 30 July 2019, aged 90. Howard was my contact when researching the Francis Collinson manuscripts, his relatives, the Batt family from the Weald of Kent, seemingly a rich source of song.

Roland Walls - 1954 – 2019

Roland Walls, who has died from Motor Neurone Disease, has been the focus and inspiration for live folk and roots related music in and around the city of York for the last 40 years. Neither musician nor performer, he dedicated his spare time to encouraging, supporting and promoting a huge variety of music events.

Colin Ross - 1934 - 2019

On 27 May 2019, my friend and musical colleague, Colin Ross, died in Whitley Bay hospital after a brief illness. We played together for 60 years. I would like to share with you some of my memories of this great man.

Miles Wootton - 1934 - 2019

During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Miles wrote, sang and recorded countless songs still popular in folk clubs. They mocked all kinds of follies, even those of folk itself. A fine guitarist and a wry observer of life, he blended music hall, cabaret and folk song in a distinctive way: Ewan MacColl said he “had the common touch” and Peggy Seeger calls him one of her “favourites of the ironic, sarcastic, humorous writers of iconic folk songs.” She said, “I recently sang his Hippies And Beatniks parodying Gypsy Davy: it brought the house down. Goodbye, Miles… you gave me miles of pleasure and laughter - Peggy.”

Caroline Paton 1932 – 2019

Caroline Ann Paton died on March 18th, 2019 aged 86. Her name may not be familiar to many of our readers in the UK, but Caroline and her late husband Sandy were well known to musicians from here who toured in America. In 1961, together with Sandy and business partner, Lee Haggerty, she founded Folk-Legacy Records in Huntington, Vermont, and over its lifetime, the label issued more than 120 albums from artists as diverse as Frank Proffitt, Gordon Bok, Norman Kennedy, Bill Staines, Hedy West, Ian Robb, Harry Cox and Paddy Tunney. Folk-Legacy was Caroline’s life’s work, and her passion for more than 50 years.